Why “The Purim Superhero” is the Book I’ve Been Waiting For

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I’ve always believed quite firmly that what is on our kids’ bookshelves, and what we, parents and children together, share at bedtime, makes them who they are. I was particularly excited to hear about the publication of a new children’s book, The Purim Superhero. This story of a little boy, and the Purim-costume dilemma he faces, along with the help of his fathers, feels like the children’s book I’ve been searching for a long time.

Jenni Person and her kids

Jenni Person and her kids

Books have fundamental power for our kids. Story time is a way to compellingly deliver the values we wish to instill in them. Books come alive, ideas flooding into minds, fueling connections and other ideas, feelings and sense memories. Expand the power of these books with the participation of a parent and children’s literature knows no bounds. And so I seek books that reflect and reinforce the reality and true diversity of my kids’ world, which we can share together. So, as I’ve written about in columns and blogs before, it’s always been important to me to have plenty of books about Jewish families and experiences. Then within that, we need winter scenes that involve palm trees and beach rather than snow, because, like other Jewish kids here in Florida, my kids don’t know from a white Chanukah and they do
barefoot on the beach.

A few years ago I looked for books that truly reflected our community, which happily has lots of LGBT families and single-parents-by-choice. I was frustrated back then by a lack of books with two moms or two dads. Those that did exist seemed more instructive and less story-driven. They were about what it means to have two moms, rather than a story about a kid who just happened to have two moms. I declared back then that this was outdated – that gay parenting is no longer such a novelty – and that a real need exists for kids’ books that feature kids with LGBT parents simply as a fact, not a lesson. These books weren’t showing my kids reality as it exists for them, and it wasn’t giving me a chance to help instill this basic value in them: our families look different from each other, and that’s not just not a problem – it’s a part of our lives, and a nice one, at that.